Any list of my all-time favorite and most watched movies would have to include the 1983 classic, The Big Chill. It is very difficult for me to believe that this piece of my own pop culture history has turned 30, but I guess like everything else in my life its age came sneaking up on me. If you are familiar with the movie, then you know of the amazing cast, many of whom went on to great success in Hollywood. Glenn Close, Jeff Goldbloom, William Hurt, Tom Berenger, Mary Kay Place, JoBeth Williams and Kevin Kline played old college friends who reunite for the funeral of another old friend (played by an unknown and never actually seen Kevin Costner!) who has committed suicide. You know of the amazing soundtrack, featuring The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rascals, The Band, The Beach Boys, Three Dog Night, The Temptations and many other great artists of the 1960s and early 70s. And you know that it is primarily a story about friendship, and how difficult it can be to maintain even the best of friendships as circumstances change, miles separate and years go by. The film is very funny, very insightful and very real to my life. Take out the recreational drug use and the free-wheeling (and sometimes a little bizarre) sexual encounters and in many ways I feel like I have lived much of this movie.
We all have friends that we know "get" us. People around whom we can be ourselves with no pretense and no masks. Many times as we grow older these are not the people we see on a regular basis. But when we do talk or get a chance to be together, everything immediately feels like it always did. The discussions become real and poignant, and can almost sound crass to the uninitiated...much like this dialogue from the film, as Mary Kay Place and William Hurt discuss their deceased friend: